(Headlines) Protesters took the streets of London, Tel Aviv and other cities on Saturday to protest coronavirus restrictions, decrying how the tyrannical measures have dramatically affected daily life.
The British government recently banned social gatherings of more than six people in the hopes that it would help reverse a steep rise in COVID-19 cases and suggested that tougher restrictions could be coming.
Deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 remain low.
Saturday’s protest in Trafalgar Square, which was themed “Resist and Act for Freedom,” ended in clashes between demonstrators and London police, as officers tried to disperse hundreds of people holding banners and placards with anti-restriction messages such as “This is now Tyranny.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that the city may add curfews, force pubs to close earlier and ban household visits to try to limit the city’s sharp rise in new cases.
“I am extremely concerned by the latest evidence I’ve seen today from public health experts about the accelerating speed at which COVID-19 is now spreading here in London,” Khan said Friday. “It is increasingly likely that, in London, additional measures will soon be required to slow the spread of the virus.”
In Israel, meanwhile, authorities ordered a full lockdown that began Friday and coincided with the Jewish High Holidays, which are typically celebrated with family gatherings and large prayer services.
Demonstrators in swimsuits gathered on a beach in Tel Aviv and waved black and pink flags connoting various protest movements.
In Australia, about 100 protesters gathered in the Melbourne beachside suburb of Elwood on Saturday before being scattered by police.
Police in the region have tried to dissuade lockdown opponents from protesting, but the rallies have become routine.
The Victoria police said in a news release that “the behaviour of these selfish few who choose to blatantly ignore the directions will not be tolerated.”
In Romania’s capital city, Bucharest, several hundred people protested against virus restrictions, including the mandatory use of masks in schools. About 2.8 million children in Romania began the school year Monday and schools took various precautions to try and prevent outbreaks.
Protesters in Bucharest’s University Square drew parallels between the protective measures against the pandemic and Nazi regimes. One of the speakers compared the measures to the torture of dissidents during communism.
The virulent language and comparisons echoed that of conservative protesters at rallies in dozens of U.S. cities earlier in the pandemic, including some who successfully pressured governors and local officials into lifting restrictions on businesses and social activities.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.